The Appearance of Equality: Racial Gerrymandering, Redistricting, and the Supreme Court

The Appearance of Equality: Racial Gerrymandering, Redistricting, and the Supreme Court

The Appearance of Equality: Racial Gerrymandering, Redistricting, and the Supreme Court

The Appearance of Equality: Racial Gerrymandering, Redistricting, and the Supreme Court

Synopsis

An examination of the language of law in the area of political representation, this book considers the development and recognition of group claims brought pursuant to the Voting Rights Act and the Equal Protection Clause in Supreme Court opinions. In his analysis, Burke highlights the different, discursive strategies, broadly identified as liberal and communitarian, used by the Supreme Court to justify the outcomes of various cases, and he argues that no particular strategy of justification is inherently politically conservative or liberal and that no conception of political representation is unassailable. Therefore, it is unlikely that the Supreme Court will articulate a stable measure of fair representation. As such, this book tells the uncertain story of the creation of political fairness by the Supreme Court.

Excerpt

Words of caution to the reader. Do not expect to find, in the pages that follow, an answer as to what constitutes fair representation; how to arrive at its measure; or concrete suggestions as to how to remedy its lack. From the words and appearances of Supreme Court opinions, I have culled philosophical narratives or strategies of justification that give fleeting structure to debates over what constitutes fair representation in Voting Rights Act and reapportionment cases. However, there is very little new in the law and even less certainty. To this paradox, the subject of fair representation presents no exception.

Although I may claim that there is no such thing as fair representation, nothing that I write will dissuade those who believe ardently in a particular standard from thinking otherwise. It may be that capturing the essence of fair representation is as futile as trying to collect fog in a mason jar. The thing or its practice alters as we collect and examine it. Yet, the absence of fair representation seems to increase the urgency for arguments asserting its presence.

Several people whom I will not mention assisted me in this enterprise through time, opinion, and support. Though I do not acknowledge you by name, please accept my heartfelt appreciation. I would be remiss if I did not recognize Lawrence Burke, Dorothy Burke, Michael Hull, Jacquelynn Nikolaus, and Andrew Burke who offered material and personal support without which it would have been impossible to see this enterprise to its conclusion. Peter Carstensen graciously extended to me access to the University of Wisconsin Law School library. Heather Staines of Greenwood Publishing Group extended to me this publishing opportunity, and to her I owe my gratitude. Elizabeth Meagher, production editor at Greenwood Publishing Group, patiently guided me through various preparations of this manuscript. Copyeditor Beth Wilson . . .

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